Cadillac unveils a new interior for its ’07 SRX cross/utility vehicle, one of the first of many product moves due for the luxury brand in the next year.

Set for launch in August, the upgraded SRX contains a “handcrafted” interior, which includes decorative French stitching, intended to cut down on gaps and seams in seats. Coverings for components, such as the instrument panel, center console and door trim are cut, sewn and wrapped mostly by hand, Cadillac says.

The old-world craftsmanship first appeared in the limited STS-V and XLR-V models. It includes wood trim surrounding and throughout the cockpit. The optional trim uses an exotic wood called sapele (pronounced sa-pell-i) pommele from East Africa, which more frequently is found in home furnishings and high-end acoustic guitars.

The enhancements are expected to migrate to the rest of the Cadillac line, including a redesigned CTS due early next year.

“The SRX is the latest and most complete example of our new approach to interiors, blending advanced technology with the hand craftsmanship that once was, and is again becoming, a Cadillac trademark,” says Cadillac General Manger Jim Taylor.

Models equipped with the Northstar V-8 also add a 6-speed automatic transmission for ’07. A new SRX Sport, equipped with the 3.6L V-6, includes a refreshed exterior with body-colored front and rear fascias and optional 18- or 20-in. wheels.

The interior also features a somewhat camouflaged storage compartment on the passenger side of the instrument panel. Pressing the wood trim reveals a wide bin above the existing glove box.

The interior also conceals the passenger-side airbag without plastic casing. A technique called “skiving” is used to carve slight perforations into the underside of the material, through which the passenger airbag can deploy.

The SRX’s electronics and entertainment systems also receive major enhancements for ’07, including a Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround digital audio system as an option for the first time on SRX. The previous Bose system that had been optional now becomes standard.

SRX also will offer a theater package consisting of Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround, DVD navigation and rear seat DVD entertainment. The audio system now features an auxiliary port for connecting MP3 players, such as an iPod.

Through June, SRX sales are up just 0.6%. Overall Cadillac sales have declined 0.4%, Ward’s data shows.